In a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with senior officials to review the COVID-19 situation, India will begin its vaccination drive on January 16.
Priority will be given to around three crore healthcare workers and frontline staff, like doctors, community health workers, and police, who are directly involved in fighting the pandemic.
The next priority group will be people over 50, followed by those under 50 but with co-morbidities. The total number of people expected to be vaccinated in the first phase is around 30 crore.
The PM was also briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT governments for rollout of the vaccine in the near future. The vaccination exercise in underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilizing experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary health care; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology.
The government CoWIN app (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network and its ecosystem) will be used to manage the massive vaccination drive. The app has yet to be launched, but the government has said it will use Aadhaar numbers to authenticate vaccine beneficiaries and send text messages – in at least 12 languages – to their mobile phones with details of vaccination date and time.